Dehra Ki Gali: Great place, spectacular visuals and a grandiose spectacle of eyes!
By: M S Nazki
People want to come here, stay, spend some time with their families but the problem is accommodation and other basic facilities!
- Incidentally none exist here.
*Cooler temperatures sweep the area in summer time and thus it is the perfect time to explore the outdoors.
- People should be here to admire its natural beauties and their tourism money would be a great support to the local economy.
- Visitors can take in the sweeping views by car or explore marked hiking trails. The Pir Panjals are also home to an array of wildlife. But what is lacking is the interest which the Tourism Department is not showing.
- Jammu has always been associated with religious tourism but no effort has been made to chalk out the scenic and adventure tourism aspects especially so camping and trekking. The potential is massive in Rajouri and Poonch.
- The Pir Panjals have some great tourist destinations and many could be termed as at par with the ones in Kashmir if not better.
- The problem is that their potential has not been realized though it has been acknowledged over the years.
- Before the era of militancy this place wasn’t that well explored and during militancy it could not have been possible. But with terrorism uprooted this place deserves to be on the tourist map of J&K for the reasons I would be unfolding subsequently in the piece.
- This was my first experience when I visited this place, not as a tourist but as a wanderer along with my men on a mission. For the night we had to stop as the action was expected on the other side of the midnight. As we deployed, I had a look around as the twilight zone was fast approaching and this is what I could feel:
- I felt as if I had crossed some kind of invisible line. I thought as if I had come to a place I never thought I would have to come to. And I don’t know how I got here. It’s a strange place. It’s a place where a little harmless dreaming was permissible and then some night music of squeaking insects, and an occasional splash of the breeze through the pines. It was wonderful and as the stars appeared after the sunset the skies were lit up by the stars. The impact was absolutely magical!
- This place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest I mean who loves coming here year after year, remembers it most obsessively, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes it in his own image.
- But this poetic renunciation can only be possible if the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department takes some interest. They showed some gusto when the got the huts for tourists constructed but later on it proved to be a wastage of time, money and effort. The huts are there but their sight is an embarrassment to the eyes!
As you pass by Thanna Mandi on the way DKG (abbreviated form of Dehra Ki Gali) you have no idea as to where you are going as the beauty of the mountains tends to captivate you, where you thought you were going to was never there because this place is a magical Xnadu with beauty oozing fro everywhere, and where you are is absolutely stunning and you want to stay for times together in the lap of awesome embrace of the serene nature. The immediate words that come out of the mouth piece, ‘this is the place for me to be in!’. If Music is a Place – then Jazz is the City, Folk is the Wilderness, Rock is the Road, Classical is a shrine and in Districts Rajouri and Poonch you can get everything, please add to this the country side hums and buzz!
I. Exquisite fauna and flora:
Many would say that it is the humans who make a place great by visiting, capturing them in their cameras, digital cameras, video cameras and then subsequently bringing it to the world to see. But I will say that it is the fauna and flora that makes the place exquisite. Pir Panjals have a cornucopia of the wild and the beautiful inhabiting them like in the category of birds, Kashmir Flycatcher, Ficedula subrubra, a globally vulnerable species, Western Tragopan, Tragopan melanocephalus, The Himalayan or Impeyan Monal Lophophorus impejanus is also found here, perhaps in considerable numbers. The area also exhibits a rich and diverse faunal composition: Himalayan Black Bear Ursus thibetanus, Brown Bear Ursus arctos, Himalayan Musk Deer, Moschus chrysogaster, Leopard Panthera pardus, Himalayan Yellow-throated Marten Martes flavigula, Beech Marten Martes foina, Himalayan Weasel Mustela sibirica, Jungle Cat Felis chaus, Jackal Canis aureus, Red Fox Vulpes vulpes, Longtailed Marmot Marmota caudata and Himalayan Mouse Hare Ochotona roylei! People on the move have spotted them!
II. Hypnotizing beauty:
Love makes you see a place different, just as you hold differently an object that belongs to someone you love. If you know one landscape well, you will look at all other landscapes differently. And if you learn to love one place, sometimes you can also learn to love another. DKG has such a charming demeanor. There are several places and you want to be at each and everyone of it:
- Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries around the world but for India it is still in early stage as there is lots more to do in this field.
- The place is there but what is needed is a blizzard like campaign to attract people’s attention towards giving importance to tourism in two districts of Jammu region.
- Jammu and Kashmir is a beautiful place but it still needs improvements in the field of tourism in the regions like Poonch and Rajouri which are the two important districts of the state.
- Pir Panjal region Jammu is rich in natural, historical and cultural sources for ecotourism.
- Natural landscape, cultural and religious multitudes with unique historical heritage can provide enormous prospects for eco tourists.
*The scenic beauty of the region can be felt through snow covered mountain peaks during winters, meandering rivulets, still and calm lakes, crystal clear water flowing in lakes and streams and brooks.
*Architectural quality and cultural mosaic reflects its unique and rich history and culture.
*Noori Chamb waterfall, Nandishool waterfall, Behram Gala, Mandi, Valley of Surankote, Nandan Sar Lake, Girjan dhok, Front view of Tattakoti Peaks, Mughal Road, Dehr, Chir Forests, Poonch Fort, Bagh Deodi, Moti Mahal, Shrine of Sain Miran Bakhsh, Shrine of Chhote Shah, Shrine of Sain Fazal Illahi Bakhsh, Gurudwara Nangali Sahib, Budha Amarnath Temple, Taras and Kothas, Koel, Leopard, Nargis Flower, Shrine of Shahdara Sharief, Mangla Mata Temple, Chingus Sarai, Dhanidhar Fort. Mandi and Loran are small beautiful villages surrounded by mountains and Surankote is a small town situated on the banks of river Suran. Girjan Dhok is a valley of seven stunning and stupendous lakes of geological importance situated at an altitude of 12000 feet.
- Then on the right side of Mughal Road near Pir Panjal is Pir Li Gali, which is the memorial of saint Sheikh Ahmed Kareem visited by people of all walks of life. Dehr, which is a Dhok (meadow) in village Mahra in the Tehsil of Surankote at an altitude of around 6000 feet.
- The entire thing is absolutely stunning but the problem is the development part on the sites mentioned above.
In 2008 then state Govt o Jammu and Kashmir under sponsorship of Centre Govt constructed huts as far as Eco tourism goes for the tourists at Dera Ki Gali ( DKG). I These huts are In dilapidated condition and have no basic facility. Social activists of Thanamandi Haji Mohd Maqbool Raina said the government should pay immediate attention and provide power /water supply and infrastructure so that the tourists may be attracted to Dera Ki Gali which is situated on Historical Mughal road. It’s not they do not come, they do but not on a planned trip and the reason is lack of accommodation. If they have no place to stay obviously there is no option but to rush back from where they started!
If you say, I feel drowned in crowds and feel the energy inside you sapping then quit the city and the crowd and rush to Dehra Ki Gali. Trust me you will not be disappointed. Agreed that the crowd has a life of its own, the vibrant clothes shine in the morning light and the people move like enchanting shoals of fish. There is chatter between sellers and buyers, old friends catching up, new friends made. It’s busy for sure, but the hustle and bustle brings a life to this city I wouldn’t want to be without but when it gets monotonous and a dreary routine you need to escape the further burn out. Pir Panjals are the ultimate destination and DKG the exact place. People love this city with every fiber of their being, sure there are thieves in the crowds, but for every one of them there are a hundred angels in the rough. But here in this mountainous terrain these folks that mill with forlorn faces and broken eyes have hearts of pure light within them just waiting for the right circumstances to break loose. It is our basic human programming to be good, kind and loving, hardcoded into our DNA. Hopefully DKG would become a better place and soon would be visited by one and all!